This weekend I had the privilege of sitting down with some older, much wiser ladies. With one, in particular, I was sharing my struggles, my thoughts, my dreams – and I said something about successful motherhood being an either or sort of thing in the Christian arena – about there tending to be a stigma that goes with working, and about how I just really didn’t buy into it anymore.
She said a thing to me that I keep replaying in my thoughts. The gist of what she said was this, “Emily, I wish we could entirely do away with the word ‘secular’ because it causes things to be categorized and that isn’t the way the Bible says it is. Life is just…life. We eat. We exercise. We go to church. We spend time with our neighbors. We spend our money. We love our family. We work. Your life is your life – and what it looks like is between you and God.”
I just read an article from a sight that is just for working moms – or appears to be. It listed a bunch of things never to say to working moms. I gotta say that people who are saying those things are probably saying insensitive junk to everyone else, too. There are sights and articles just like it that are just for stay-at-home moms. None of them sit right with me because they are the very things that cause the mommy wars. They are the very sites that make us all shimmy our lives up beside each other so that we can carefully compare successes and failures.
To be fair, I really think the author in the aforementioned article was just expressing her heart. She was probably frustrated and used sarcasm and working mom pride to express it. I use sarcasm to express hurt and annoyance quite frequently and truly…I understand. She even says at the end that we should all just support each other – whoever we are. I am not slamming her, let’s be clear about that.
I just want us to consider that maybe motherhood is just…motherhood. I want us to be sensitive and gracious and acknowledge that we each deal with so many insecurities and failures and hurts: every. single. day. [My oldest likes to tell me frequently that she likes Josh better than me] We all wonder if we are doing enough, being enough, following our hearts enough. I want to be a cheerleader for us all. I want to relish the journey of it all. I want to watch you do your thing in your own life and wonder at God’s impressive work through it all.
I don’t exactly know how to step out of this life long categorization of working mom vs. stay at home mom, thing, but I am working on it. I am working on asking questions about who a person is before I ask anything about what he or she does “for a living”. Sometimes that’s a huge part of who she is, but sometimes it just makes people feel inadequate. So maybe I should be sensitive to that. Maybe I should be more gracious and thoughtful all around.